Harry Coher

Harry Coher was a legendary athlete
Against Ireland’s best with success he did compete
As the wild mountain hare is quite as fleet
The first of the great cross country runners of Millstreet

Old memories remain as a source of joy
By old timers i heard many stories of him as a boy
As children they remembered Harry Coher in his prime
He was indeed a legend of his time

But unwritten memories tend to fade away
And few in Millstreet would have heard of him today
And more the pity indeed this does seem
For in in his time he was one held in high esteem

By athletic fans far beyond the borders of Duhallow’s countryside
As he was one who competed with pride
For Millstreet and the famous green and gold
I only tell it as i heard it told

By aged men who were going back in time
To when they were boys and Harry Coher was in his prime
Aged men long deceased and time has become my foe
For this is going back sixty years ago

By all accounts a legendary athlete
One in his prime the pride of old Millstreet
As a boy by old men one i heard talked about
And of his greatness i was never left in any doubt.

“Harry Coher” is by Francis Duggan

5 thoughts on “Harry Coher”

  1. “Coher” was just his nickname. His proper name was Harry O’Sullivan.

    When he ran in Britain, he was known as the “Bricklayer from Ireland”

    He originated from a townland of gleannaree (sp?) between Nadd and Bweeing. Sometime around the 1930’s the family moved to millstreet as there were no council houses in grenagh, but some available in Millstreet.

    He lived in the upper tanyard houses (second from town). He had a son Mick who went to England.

    His brother Ned lived a few doors down (to the left of Christy Dunnes). He had two sons one of whom was a shoemaker, and who also went to England, but came back later in life to live in town, and died about 25 years ago.

  2. I have read the above article, and believe this maybe my grandfather. My mothers name is Johanna O’Sullivan (aka Joan), who was also from the tanyard in Milstreet. She was one of three sisters, Maureen, and Letty being the others. I cannot remember her talking about brothers, however she often told us about her father as a cross country runner. Her father died in 1947? and there was an article written about him in the Cork Examiner. Is this the same man? If so can you please tell me where I can get information on his athletic achievements

  3. Hi. This is a longshot, as the above piece has only just come to my attention, but we have the Sullivans “Caher” in common. My grandfather was Arthur Sullivan & Harry Sullivan that you speak of,was one of his seven brothers. They were both very prominent athletes, and there is quite a lot of documentation available to show their endeavours.

    1. Thank you for the above information. Would love to read any information that you have on my Grandfather. I have researched a couple of archives to trace as much information on Harry and his brother Edward(I did not know he was one of seven brothers?) who both lived at Lackabawn Millstreet.(this is the address given on his death notice – see below)
      1) From the Cork examiner archives dated the 25/10/1946 – Henry(Harry)O’Sullivan died @ Millsteet Hospital, removal and burial to Drishane on Sunday 26th October.

      2) Quote fro the Southern Star 01/09/1928 “I should also like to mention one more Harry O’Sullivan, of Banteer, the only irishman to give Alfred Shrubb the famous English cross country champion (1901 -1903) a close run in the English Cross Country Championship” –.

      3) Quote from Little Wonder on desertislandbooks. Alfred Shrubb deserves to up there with Cram, Coe and Ovett and should be remembered as arguably the best British middle distance runner of all time but who has heard of him? It is easy to dismiss the feats
      4) From findagrave.com

      Name: Henry O’Sullivan.

      Birth: unknown

      Death: Sep. 25, 1946
      Inscription: headstone for Harry and Edward O’Sullivan
      In memory of
      [left side]

      Lackabawn, Millstreet
      died 28 June 1963
      his wife Bridget
      died 13 March 1968
      [right side]
      Lackabawn, Millstreet,
      died 25 Sept. 1946
      His wife MARY (Mary Ellen Garvan?)
      died 7 March 1947
      Drishane Cemetery
      County Cork, Ireland
      Created by: John
      Record added: Jul 17, 2014
      Find A Grave Memorial# 132924894

      Mary O’Sullivan

      Birth: unknown

      Death: Mar. 7, 1947Description: https://www.findagrave.com/icons2/trans.gif
      Drishane Cemetery
      County Cork, Ireland
      Created by: John
      Record added: Jul 17, 2014
      Find A Grave Memorial# 132924895

      From the Militaryarchives.ie 19November 2017 (see document MA-MSPC-RO-58.pdf)

      Harry O’Sullivan (along with his brother Edward) the Tanyard Millstreet,are listed as members of the “A “Coy 1st Battalion Cork IV brigade listed on page 50 of MA-MSPC-RO-58.pdf.

      He is listed in type on page 1 and handwritten on page 2.The date of the list is 11/7/1921.

      Listed on page 43 as still a member of the “A” Coy on 1/7/1922

      Does this information help to confirm that we share grandparents from the same family? Willing to swop e-mail address to facilitate information exchange on this subject

      1. Hi Denis.
        I would be delighted to give you what info I have. I am in contact with another relation who has researched the Suĺlivans in great detail. I will ask his permission to pass on his email address also.
        My email address is <email>.
        Look forward to hearing from you again.
        Kind regards.
        Elizabeth ( Lil) Fullam.

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